Former Porn Stars Report Workplace Discrimination

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Trending in the work place: firing women who have worked in the porn industry. A new report claims that even after women have left pornography and excelled in new careers, they are still being fired if their past comes out. Gauge (full name not given), retired from the adult industry to become certified as a surgical tech, “reaching the top of her class and logging double her required hours in the process.” However, after a male employee recognized her from her previous work, she was unable to get any staffer to sign off on her required hours.

This story is relatable for other ex-porn stars as well. Stacie Halas, a middle school teacher from Oxnard, Calif., was fired after one of her students found an old video clip of her online. She fought the termination in court, but lost because judges found that “the ongoing availability of her pornographic materials on the Internet will continue to impede [Halas] from being an effective teacher and respected colleague.” Kimberly Halsey, an ex-adult film performer, has a similar story, and was fired from her job as a real estate agent after a colleague recognized her.

But is this legal? Yes, because there is no protection for sex workers under discrimination laws, and it is not the same thing as race, sex, or sexual orientation because working in the porn industry is a life choice. Furthermore, if employees are hiding their past from current employers, “the employer could argue that the employee had been hired under false pretenses, leading the court to side in their favor.”

Gauge brings up an interesting point- why aren’t the men who recognize these women punished in anyway? She asks, “I’m the provider, you’re the freaking consumer. Why is what I did so much more wrong than what you did?” If porn is so stigmatized that the performers can’t maintain their jobs, why are men who watch porn, and admit it in the workplace, unscathed?

I think it all boils down to sexism- a women who is paid to work in porn is somehow unsuitable for the work place. Like the court says about the teacher from Oxnard, women who choose to work in porn are no longer capable of being a role models or valued co-workers, because of their sexual/professional experiences. Basically, employers are able to discriminate against women who don’t fulfill their ideas of a moral/good woman based on their sexual identity. And that’s sexual discrimination.

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